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09 November 2008

Variety International

Corsan slate includes Billie August film

Belgian co. preps English-language movies


Posted: Sat., Nov. 8, 2008, 9:00pm

Belgian shingle Corsan has put together a slate of English-language movies including the next projects by Lee Tamahori, Roland Joffe and two-time Cannes Palme d'Or winner Bille August.

Company, headed by Paul Breuls, has made extensive use of Belgian tax-based financing laws and is able to finance many of its pics without setting them up as co-productions, which would dilute its equity interest and potentially lead to creative compromises.

Tamahori will direct "The Devil's Double," an adaptation of a series of books about Latif Yahia, a man who was forced to be the body double of Saddam Hussein's son Uday. Screenplay is by Michael Thomas. Production on a E15 million ($19.1 million) budget will take place in Spain starting next June.

August will direct "If Not Now, When?," an adaptation by Greg Latter ("Goodbye Bafana") of the Primo Levi novel about a group of Russian, Polish and Hungarian Jews who eschewed passive resistance and became partisans in WWII. Casting is undetermined, but Breuls says the pic, also on a $19 million budget, will lense starting in September.

Company is moving ahead with previously announced Joffe project "Singularity," which stars Indian star Aishwarya Rai. The $33 million pic is an epic story set across two time periods and continents. Plot involves a British officer in colonial India who falls in love with an Indian (Rai), and an American marine biologist struggling to save his research partner, who is trapped in the wreckage of a colonial Brit merchant ship. Lensing is tentatively skedded for next October.

Breuls and Corsan have been active for some 20 years, but the past year and a half have seen restructuring of the company as a vertically integrated operation spanning development, production, Benelux distribution and, most recently, international sales. Sales are handled in conjunction with Robbie Little's the Little Co.

"For us Belgium is a 'virtual location.' We are not making culturally specific films triggering local subsidy schemes. Instead we are now making projects with a global feel for world distribution. That means English-language and high quality based upon good scripts," Breuls says.

Also coming up is Breuls' soph helming effort, "Meant to Be," a romantic comedy scripted by Kara Holden that will lense starting in January.

Corsan World Sales is handling Breul's first film, "The Hessen Affair," a period heist film that has its market preem at AFM. ends

Trailer Saddam Son documentary Film THE DEVIL'S DOUBLE

30 September 2008

لطيف يحيى شبيه عدي صدام حسين ، دعاية للفلم الوثائقي ( بديل الشيطان ) عام Saddam Son٢٠٠٩

القصة الكاملة التي سوف يستكمل العمل بها عام ٢٠٠٩ والتي تروي الاحداث التي مر بها لطيف يحيى الملقب في الغرب بشبيه عدي صدام . هذا الفلم سوف يروي القصة الكاملة لحياة لطيف يحيى بدون تحريف اعلامي كما تفعل قنوات التلفاز العربية والغربية على السواء ، وكيف عرقلت وتعرقل المخابرات الامريكية انتاج هذا الفلم لما يحتويه من معلومات خطيرة يحتويه هذا الفلم ، وكيف حاولت المخابرات الامريكية تجنيده ولما رفض حولت حياته الى جحيم ،ومعلومات مفصلة عن الذين استلموا الحكم بعد سقوط النظام العراقي عام ٢٠٠٣ بالوثائق، وغيرها من احداث مهمة وسرية الفلم بالانكليزيه والعربي

24 September 2008

كنت ابناْ الرئيس صدام حسين Latif Yahia Saddam's Son leaves Ireland

Latif Yahia, Internationally recognised as "Saddam's third son" leaves Ireland after residing there for 11 years. Leaving with his Irish wife and children, Latif is disapointed that Ireland was not to become his homeland, having had his three applications for Irish Naturalization refused and the banning of his latest book "The Black Hole" Latif was forced to come to the realization that because of Ireland's extremely close ties with America there was no future for him or his family there.

24 August 2008

Film Trailer!!
Nine men and women - Christians, Jews and Moslems-on their journey from Jerusalem to Tripoli!

10 July 2008

Warning to the American people,
Don't let your Sons and Daughters sign up for the Army, GW Bush and John McCain won't pay to take care of them.
The American Government send them in at any cost, but will do anything not to spend money on them when they need it most. The truth of the American Army's injured. Read this!!!
best regards,
Latif Yahia

VA Crisis: 20 medical stories that reveal how the gov’t REALLY feels about its soldiers.

For the past four years, over 30,000 U.S
. soldiers have returned home from fighting in Iraq wounded. Promised state-of-the-art medical care and assistance transitioning back to their previous lives, many soldiers are finding that the government isn’t holding up on its end of the bargain. The ill-managed Veterans Administration system has some soldiers tied up for months in a deep web of red tape and unaccountability that prevents many from receiving the benefits they’re owed. These are just a few stories that indicate the government’s true ability and willingness to take care of our veterans returning from Iraq.

1. Sending the wounded back to war: Several wounded troops from a military medical facility in Ft. Benning, Ga., were sent back into combat despite still showing symptoms of their conditions, raising questions about much recovery time the military is allowing soldiers while under pressure to keep soldier population in Iraq high. One female was redeployed despite having significant spinal damage and being unable to carry gear.

2. Withholding pay from the wounded: Army Staff Sgt. Eugene Simpson was walking down a road in Iraq when a car bomb exploded just feet away. Shrapnel ripped through his back and into his spine, paralyzing him. He returned home for treatment and while he was in the hospital his wife called to tell him she had no money to pay the bills. For four months, and without warning, the Army’s messy bureaucracy withheld pay from Simpson, saying he owed them money from a combat duty bonus they neglected to cancel. He was not even aware he was receiving it.
Purple HeartThe overwhelming evidence of sub-standard care provided wounded Veterans is a better indicator than rhetoric of the government’s respect for its soldiers.

3. False Diagnoses: In the past six years, the military has released more than 22,000 wounded soldiers from service for having a “personality disorder”, according to reporter Joshua Kors. This diagnosis is often inaccurate, but is used frequently because the government doesn’t have to cover medical costs for individuals with personality disorders. Kors’ research found that money saved on these veterans will save the government $12 billion over the course of their lifetimes.

4. Medical Benefits Denied: A soldier profiled by Kors in The Nation, Town was injured when a rocket slammed into a wall inches above his head, shooting shrapnel into his neck. The shrapnel was removed, but he is now partially deaf and has significant memory loss. The military told him his wounds were caused by a personality disorder, not the rocket. His medical benefits were denied, and he is now fighting the government for coverage.

5. Government Accountability Office: In 2006, the GAO issued this report that concluded that the government has failed the test of taking care of the wounded when they return from war. It estimates that nearly 900 critically wounded soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan have gone into government debt through no fault of their own.

6. Ryan Kelly: One of the more highly publicized veterans, Ryan Kelly lost his leg in Iraq in 2003. While still in recovery, he was receiving letters from the military threatening to ruin his credit. Unbeknownst to him, he was overpaid $2,200, and the government cut his pay and benefits until he paid it back.

7. Overloading the system: Mark Benjamin, the investigations editor at UPI, reports that the military is discharging wounded soldiers at an increased rate, transferring their continued medical care to the Veterans Administration. This phenomenon is overloading the V.A. system, making it less able to deliver quality care and deliver adequate treatment.

8. Medical Hold: Many wounded soldiers are encountering long waits – sometimes months – for doctors’ appointments. The soldiers,
described by the government to be on “medical hold,” are often made to wait out this period in run-down military barracks; some are redeployed before they can see a doctor.

9. Immediate Treatment Denied: Jonathan Schulze, an Iraq veteran from Minnesota, fought depression, violent outbursts, and a desire to die after he returned wounded from Iraq. When he went to the closest V.A. hospital in his home state, he was denied immediate admission and listed 26th on a wait list for an opening in a 12-bed facility. Four days later, he killed himself. He is not the only veteran to commit suicide due to untreated mental illnesses resulting from injuries.

10. Depression, Anger, and Insomnia: In one Boston Globe poll, 58 percent of veterans reported having nightmares and insomnia since their return; 59 percent reported uncontrollable anger; 58 percent reported depression; and 62 percent reported have some level of mental health problems.

11. No Rural Access for Treatment: Many veterans from rural areas are having significant problems accessing care nearby their residences, and then discovering long waits after driving hours to reach a V.A. Hospital. One couple from North Carolina even relocated to Massachusetts, quitting their jobs and leaving their home, just to be close to a treatment facility that specializes in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

12. Conditions requiring special treatment: Many veterans and their families say the government system is not able to adequately treat certain mental illnesses and are seeking more expert care. Some, like veteran Vincent Mannion, who, like 3,000 other veterans, has been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury, are fighting to get coverage extended to include treatment at private facilities.

13. Suicide: A CBS investigation found that the suicide rate for veterans of the Iraq war is more than twice that for Americans who didn’t serve in the war. Some have even called it an epidemic, saying that many soldiers are returning home to find they can’t win the battles waging in their psyches. Diana Henderson’s son, Derek, served three tours of combat duty in Iraq, only to return home and later commit suicide by jumping off a bridge.

14. Ineffective enforcement of laws to protect veterans: It is predicted that government health costs for Iraq veterans will total $650 billion in the long run. Especially troubling for the V.A. is the fact that many veterans and reservists are returning home to find their jobs cut, their health insurance curtailed, and their pensions gone, despite a federal law and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act, which were enacted to keep this from happening. The laws have failed largely because there is no single government entity overseeing or enforcing them.

15. Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome: PTSD is thought to affect at least one out of every three Iraq War veterans. However, the Government Accountability Office has predicted many crises for the V.A. in treating this disorder. One GAO report questioned whether the V.A. was adequately screening veterans for the disorder and whether veterans were receiving medical referrals after diagnosis. It also questioned the V.A.’s ability to plan for and handle the continued increase of PTSD patients.

16. Complicated wounds: Many physicians have attested to the fact that the wounds sustained by soldiers in the Iraq war are usually much more complicated than traditional war wounds and require long, difficult surgeries and treatments, due to the high risk for direct injury by car bombs, chemicals, and other new forms of warfare.

17. Psychological damage: The Pentagon reports that 35 percent of Iraq veterans seek mental health care, and it’s estimated that even more have psychological disorders and aren’t seeking treatment. Veteran advocates want to see increased government spending dedicated to mental health treatments and are doubtful that the V.A. can handle the issue at its current funding level.

18. Lawsuits: This summer, Iraq veterans sued VA Secretary Jim Nicholson for denying them health coverage, treatment, and disability pay.

19. Inability to care for other veterans: As the Iraq War continues to take its toll on soldiers, veterans of previous wars face insecurities about their own benefits. When veterans turn 65, they are entitled to free health benefits. But as costs for the VA increase, these benefits will likely be in jeopardy.

20. Jon Walter Reed Hospital: Hailed as the premiere military hospital in the country, Walter Reed Hospital, located five miles from the White House, is in a state of disarray, according to this Washington Post report and has been the subject of much media scrutiny in recent months. According to the article, the hospital is run-down and overcrowded and navigating the disorganized administration is proving to be almost as big of a battle as what some veterans faced overseas.

The V.A.’s ability to adequately treat and assist wounded veterans is beyond highly questionable. Most of the evidence points to one conclusion: Soldiers wounded in battle are sure to keep fighting for their lives once they return home.

13 May 2008

First Iraqi meets Shimon Peres in Israel (never seen before footage) For Peace.
I was the first Iraqi to legally enter Israel in the history of the state for Peace, meets with Shimon Peres President of Israel in the Peres Centre for Peace. Joined by his colleagues from Breaking the Ice, the Sahara peace mission. I and my comrades set out to walk across the Sahara desert from Jerusalem to Tripoli, this is just one of the highlights from that Peace mission and his forthcoming documentary.

The other side of the coin (never seen before footage)
I was with Breaking the ice visiting the Palestinian territories. After we meeting with Shimon Peres, the BTI team went to meet with the Palestinian authority and we visit Yasser Arafat's grave. It is very important to listen to what the representatives of Israel and Palestine have to say, they both say that they want Peace and harmony between the Isrealis and the Palestinians, so who, or what is the cause of the conflict between the two sides and can it be resolved? Once again we see that as individuals we are happy to interact with one another it is only when we focus our attentions on ethnicity, religion or politics we point fingers.

Latif Yahia

29 April 2008

Our YOUTUBE could be shut down

We use Youtube to see what terrestial TV will not show us Reality, the reality of what is happening in our world. Do not be surprised if one day you try to click on our channel and it had been deleted, we have received two warnings,because we put up two exclusive clips of American soldiers in Iraq killing dogs for fun, we disagree with the taking of any life but when others are allowed to upload clips of be-headings etc and cruelty to our fellow human beings you would have to wonder where our humanity is? Keep watching for as long as you can, it is only a matter of time before we are completely censored!
YouTube was famous around the world for letting the people exercise their right to free speech but since they have been taken over by Google (who have previously deleted three of our other websites) it remains to be seen how open they will be in the weeks and months to come, we do not show video clips for shock value, we truly believe before we upload any video that it's content must be seen by as many people as possible so they can make their own judgment.For us it all adds to the story of the documentary we are making, each time we receive a warning or loose a website it is recorded on film. Is the end of Youtube nigh? in the end will all we be able to see on Youtube is sex clips because they will be all that is allowed? Wake up, there's a world out there and it needs to be saved and the story must be viewed.
For Peace.
Latif Yahia

24 April 2008

President of the USA ?
If Obama was to become President of the USA what a wonderful thing that would be, although it is not impossible, for there is nothing truly impossible, it is highly improbable. Obama the first non-white American President wouldn't that just be something to behold, I would like to believe that he would change American foreign policy, pay more attention to the American economy, social housing and health care, pull the troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan and mend bridges with Nations that may have been slighted by the "with us or against us" attitude of the present President. I have not completely lost hope.

As for Mrs Clinton, well yes, as the next best thing to Obama certainly, also a first for America, the first female President, she has a lot of experience in policy making as she divulged recently. But are the American people truly ready for a "First" America has always been the place to go to, the role model and in so many ways the forerunner except in this regard, so will the American people vote in the first Afro American President, the first Female President or do they go with what they know? I think they'll go with what they know, military service, tough talking, I'll keep you safe from the bad guys, high alert, strong Eisenhower type. After all they do love movies.
When I first saw Mr Bush running for election I turned to my wife and said "that man is a war monger" I was proven right, I do not take pleasure in my premonition, far from it! My prediction for McCain makes Bush look like an angel, if McCain is elected America will fall like the Soviet Union, California will be the first break away state, Arnie has always wanted to be President of somewhere and with the largest economy why not? Laugh if you will but always remember truth is stranger than fiction.

Best regards,
Latif Yahia

28 March 2008

( Saddam Tribe ) This Film 95 Minutes By Raghad Saddam Hussein and Latif Yahia

The end of an empire !! The invasion of Iraq in 2003 brought a dramatic end to Saddam Hussein's brutal regime. But behind the headlines lay an even more extraordinary story of family and tribal loyalty, rivalry and betrayal. Inspired by interviews with Saddam's daughter Raghad and other key eye-witnesses as well as extensive research, this unique drama gets to the heart of the dictator's tyranny and his eventual downfall. In 2004 producer Monica Garnsey had a series of meetings with Raghad Hussein. Raghad's story, combined with others who knew Saddam, inspired Saddam's Tribe. Examining how Saddam retained power for over a quarter of a century and eventually lost it, the drama describes how the fate of a whole nation turned on the fluctuations of family loyalty and, eventually, of family betrayal amidst a descent into debauchery and corruption. "From gold AK47s to champagne-guzzling parties and luxurious palaces, Saddam's Tribe chronicles some of the extraordinary excesses Hussein and his immediate family and closest advisors were used to on a regular basis," says producer Roberto Troni. Saddam's power was built on a government made up of trusted family members. Prominent among them were his psychopathic playboy son Uday and his ambitious son-in-law Hussein Kamel. But in 1995 a bitter power struggle erupted between the two men. Caught in the middle was Raghad Hussein, whose loyalties to father, brother and husband were challenged as the battle for control of Iraq reached its vicious, bloody climax. Saddam Tribe is a docu/drama that documents the lives of Saddam Hussein's family from 1995 to the capture of Saddam Hussein in December 2003. Part written by Raghad Hussein (eldest daughter of Saddam) and also taken from the best selling book "The Devil's Double" by Latif Yahia. It is a very honest and chilling portrait of the Hussein regime and confirms stories and rumours that had once circulated about the Premier family. With a cast of New Faces the acting is superb and is not distracted by familiar faces with which one might associate previous roles. Especially the role of Uday, which Latif Yahia (ex-double of Uday Saddam Hussein) called amazingly realistic..

Click To Go To Film

15 March 2008

American CIA behind all of this Terrorism ? across the world!

Secrets of the CIA, the evil operations covertly carried out by the CIA across the world!
CIA behind all of this Terrorism ?
Is the COLD WAR really over? Was it ever real? Here's a good place to start your research!

President Kennedy began to end the Vatican’s ... all » hoax known as “the Cold War,” the American CIA and Russian KGB having secretly worked together since World War II. Why? Because the appointed time has arrived for the Jesuit General to destroy both the Dome of the Rock and the Al AqsaMosque in Jerusalem, secretly using his CIA/Nazi-trained, Masonic Zionist Mossad in conjunction with his CIA/Nazi-trained,Masonic Islamic Intelligence Agencies, including Osama bin Laden’s MAK and Pakistan’s ISI, while shrouded in the confusion of a huge aerial war. This will enable the General’s crusading Knights Templars (the present day Shriner Freemasons)to rebuild Solomon's Temple for the Pope & his Vatican. And how could the Black Pope destroy these Moslem Mosques, they comprising the third most important Islamic religious site in the world behind Saudi Arabia’s Mecca and Medina, without causing an uncontrollable Moslem holy war, called a “jihad”, resulting in the destruction of Pope Pius XII’s creation of Zionist Israel? (Osama bin Laden having been directed, financed and trained by the CIA for at least ten years — just like Jesuit-trained and CIA-financed Fidel Castro before he, like bin Laden, became a false enemy of the CFR controlled American government.)Islamic Intelligence operatives under the domestic control of CIA notoriously instructed as Islamic pilots at the Venice Airport (a Florida facility used by the CIA since 1948) in order for Archbishop Egan’s controlled American Press to spread the prepared news release that the doomed airliners were hijacked by “Arab terrorists”in the employ of bin Laden when in fact, to the horror of the American pilots, the airliners had been taken over and guided to their targets, remotely controlled by American Military Intelligence operatives overseen by the Black Pope’s CIA/NSA. This attack was an act of war carried out by the slaves of the Black Pope, both domestic and foreign, thereby enabling the White Pope’s American fascist puppet, George W. Bush,while the tools of the Jesuit Order have tyrannically implemented domestic martial law by means of the "Patriot Act"in U.S.& ”Bomb Bill C-36 Act”in Canada. God help us!

The Death Squads in iraq Shia politicians.
With the Help of American?

By: Channel 4 UK.
The torture and slaughter of Iraqi civilians is reaching unprecedented heights with estimates of up to 655,000 dead.

Bayan Jabor Solag

Night after night, death squads rampage through Iraq's main cities. In Baghdad, up to a hundred bodies a day are dumped on the streets. Often they've been tortured with electric drills. Yet those doing the killing have little to do with al Qaeda or Sunni insurgents. The majority of the killings are carried out by Shia death squads who want to turn Iraq into a Shia state aligned to Iran.

This shocking film investigates the links between the death squads and high-ranking Shia politicians. It reveals how the Shia militia that these politicians control have systematically infiltrated and taken over police units and even entire government ministeries. It investigates how these units are closely linked to the death squads, indeed they often are the death squads. And the killers act with impunity there's little investigation into their activities.

09 March 2008

Top Ranking CIA Operatives Admit Al-qaeda Is a Complete Fabrication.
BBC’s killer documentary called “The Power of Nightmares“. Top CIA officials openly admit, Al-qaeda is a total and complete fabrication, never having existed at any time. The Bush administration needed a reason that complied with the Laws so they could go after “the bad guy of their choice” namely laws that had been set in place to protect us from mobs and “criminal organizations” such as the Mafia. They paid Jamal al Fadl, hundreds of thousands of dollars to back the U.S. Government’s story of Al-qaeda, a “group” or criminal organization they could “legally” go after. This video documentary is off the hook…

I have been trying to tell the media since the first time that Al-qaeda was ever mentioned anywhere that Al-qaeda was a figment of the American administrations imagination, a tool to rule the masses and get their backing for the administrations war on the world.
Al-qaeda was a double edged sword for the American administration, it firstly drew out any anti-American activists by giving them a sense of belonging, belonging to a group or cell of like minded people, people controlled by the administration, it also gave the administration the freedom to raise the fear levels in the population to fever pitch so that their war machine could to go to work, for if America cannot sell it's arms, the major corporations cease to exist and therefore so does The United States itself.
In the run up to the next Presidential Election we see Presidential hopefuls vie for the chance to represent their parties, but what we don't see or sometimes don't understand is that no matter what candidate actually makes it to the Whitehouse the foreign policy will never change radically, the Faces change but the policies stay the same.
America has been at war with one country or another for 52 years, when it enters a country it never fully leaves, it always keeps a foothold.
1945-1946 China
1950-1953 Korea/China
1954- Guatemala
1958 Indonesia
1959-1961 Cuba
1960 Guatemala
1964 Congo
1965 Peru
1964-1973 Laos
1961-1973 Vietnam
1969-1970 Cambodia
1967-1969 Guatemala
1983 Grenada
1983-1994 Lebanon
1980s El Salvador
1980s Nicaragua
1986 Libya
1987 Iran
1989 Panama
1991 Iraq
1993 Somalia
1998 Sudan
1998 Afghanistan
1999 Yugoslavia
2001-? Afghanistan
2003-? Iraq
It may be argued that as the last remaining superpower America has the responsibility to intervene in situations that occur in the world or help when asked by Sovereign Nations, but what we have seen in the recent past is that the American Administration has ignored the UN and done it's own thing, what is there to stop the American administration from doing anything that it chooses? Who can stand up to them?
In recent times the world has come to know the horror that is extraordinary rendition, we have learned about covert CIA prisons around the world, for me it was old news, in 1994 when I had fled from Iraq and was living in Austria, I was approached by the CIA, they wanted me to work for them to spy on my fellow countrymen, I was against the Iraqi regime but I had no intention of putting my fellow Iraqis in any more harm than they were already in. I refused to work for them and found myself in a six foot by five foot cell in solitary confinement in a Covert CIA prison in Austria a democratic country or supposedly so. Ten and a half months I spent in that cell with no contact from the outside world, I was badly tortured not for information but because I wouldn't succumb, eventually I was released, it was a break in the chain of command, a new prison officer had been put on my floor but had not been given the instruction that no-one was to know that I was there, he inadvertently let a visiting Judge into my cell and my release was sealed then and there, the Judge could find no record of me, my supposed crime or length of detainment and on foot of this he ordered my release immediately. He was so concerned that I leave the prison that he brought me to Vienna himself in search of my family.
When my two books "I was Saddam's Son" and "The Devil's Double" were released they were used as propaganda for the American administration, I had written them to make the world aware of the situation in Iraq, not to be used as an excuse to invade, occupy and make life even tougher than it had already been for the Iraqis, you may argue that Iraq now has a democratically elected government, but at what human cost 1.4 million Iraqis have died,5 million are displaced inside and outside Iraq something that never happened during Saddam Hussein's 35 year dictatorship , five years along Iraqis still have no proper sanitation, electricity is sporadic and unemployment is high, the New government lives in "The Green zone" and is terrified to leave it for fear of asasination attempts, billions of dollars have been stolen by former Ministers in the Interim government and Iraqi gangs. Kidnapping and extortion is the new commerce, daily, civilians are killed by roadside/suicide bombs and militias rule the streets, Whole areas are walled in with special identity cards maybe they should be made to wear yellow crescents?
Will the American army ever leave Iraq? well 50+ years after WW II they still haven't fully left Germany or Japan.
To prepare for the future we must learn from the past, so why is it we keep repeating it?

In November 2006 I released my last book "The Black Hole" it recounted my experiences in Europe since fleeing Iraq, most people think that since I left Iraq my life has been a bed of Roses,I have several European citizenships under my belt and I am a multi-millionaire. If it were so I would indeed be a happy man, but unfortunately it is not. Having lived in Europe for the past 17 years 11 of which I have spent in Ireland, I am still stateless, the CIA have made many promises to me, namely that if I do not co-operate I will spend the rest of my life without a country, they have kept this promise. I am happily married to an Irish woman we have Irish children and I am on my third application for Naturalization as an Irish citizen. I am not a multi-millionaire and my royalties from "The Black Hole" go to charity, unfortunately the charity is not doing as well as it could because my book has been banned in Ireland and America, you will not find it in any bookshop, fortunately for me there are virtual bookshops like Amazon or my publisher's website where it is available.
Is it not surprising to you that this book should be blacked out in this way, if I had continued to write against Iraq or Saddam I guarantee it would be in every major bookshop on the bestseller shelf like the first two, but because it goes against the "agenda" and talks openly about my experiences in Democratic European countries with the CIA and how they have and still are affecting my life, it is on the banned list.
I do not write about myself because I feel important or that I am some sort of celebrity, I write about my life because the world needs to know what can happen to an ordinary person in an extraordinary situation.
In recent times I have had emails, websites, blogs, youtube etc all closed and deleted without warning or explanation, I had nothing of a terrorist or violent nature on these sites and yet someone somewhere saw fit to shut me down, how is it that Al-Qaeda can have it's own website showing people being beheaded, murdered etc and not be shut down if it is not affiliated to some power or government, how is it that we hear nothing from Bin Laden until the day before an election or some poll/bill that GW Bush needs to win and lo and Behold there he is threatening this that or the other, I put it to you that Bin Laden doesn't live in some cave in the Tora Bora mountains he lives two doors down on Pennsylvania Ave so his buddy GW can get him to the studios everytime his ratings plummet.
On the day that G W Bush once again refused to sign into policy that the CIA cannot use torture as a method of information gathering, I say to you that that is all they know. In my life I have met many Intelligence agencies and in my opinion the CIA are the most inexperienced and unintelligent of them all.
Best regards to you all and work for Peace!

Latif Yahia.

26 February 2008

Interesting article I read today

An Open Letter to Palestine :: Drop the Gun, Lift the Olive Tree, Speak to the World's Heart ::
by Mohamed Khodr
(Saturday, February 23, 2008)
"The Arab world has failed for 60 years to liberate one inch of Palestine. It’s time for a new, different, and media based strategy."
Peace and Freedom Be with You, God’s beloved Palestine!

No one earth can possibly imagine what our beloved Palestinians, especially those in Gaza, are enduring or feeling every day and every night of their lives under the brutal illegal and evil occupation by Israel, an Apartheid Zionist state forcibly imposed on an indigenous population by colonial powers who today proclaim themselves the guardians of democracy, freedom, human rights and the military exporters of liberty to an Arab world they mapped and installed autocratic puppeteers.

I am among the millions around the world who are pained daily by the suffering of men, women, and children in Palestine. I am more angry and in greater despair at the internal discord that is often violent amongst the already suffering Palestinians.

It is hard to imagine a competitive disaster to the occupation, but the Fatah and Hamas infighting comes close. It is hard for the world that empathizes with Palestinians, often in silence and often outside the Arab and Muslim world, to see precious Palestinian blood shed by Palestinians themselves.

Isn't the daily death and destruction committed by Israel sufficient for your minds and hearts? Must you add your guns to an occupier’s tank and missile already aimed at a child’s heart? Are you heartless and mindless too?

This is pure madness, beyond human comprehension. Israel is laughing at you all the way to the morgue, a morgue you compete with your occupier to fill.

Palestinians have never been blessed with an intelligent, savvy, military or media sophisticated leadership. I lived in Beirut during the tragic flaunting of Palestinian power that turned the Lebanese, even those who supported your cause, against the innocent Palestinian refugees far removed from the wealth and corruption of their alleged leaders and defenders.

My beloved Palestinians, you know more than anyone else on this planet that you have no one to depend on for your freedom but yourselves. The Arabs sold you , their souls, and their people for a dollar and a chair of power.

Israel and its powerful lobbies have succeeded in monopolizing the history and narrative of your existence.Neither you, nor the Arabs, nor the Muslims in the entire world have had the mindset to understand the western psyche, a psyche whose lifestyle, attitudes, and opinions are shaped by the multi-national entertainment and media industry. What comes out of the television box emanates from the western mouth the next day.

While in the west image is everything, in the Arab world pathetic hollow and grandiose lies and lip service to Islam, Muslims, and oppressed Arab and Muslim populations are the norm.

The entire Arab and Muslim world is lost given its divided subservient and dictatorial leadership. While American politicians out Jew and out-Israel each other, Arab leaders out Bush each other. To American and Arab leaders Palestine is remembered during times of political expediency such as a prospective bombing or invasion of an Arab country, or during conferences, summits, meetings, and celebratory occasions. They sell Palestine words while they sell Israel oil, protect America's interests, and buy their weapons, the same weapons that massacre our beloved Palestinians on a daily basis.

Paradoxically, while Israel has defied every U.N. Resolution and International Law, the Arabs in their impotence still adhere to such international measures as their political strategy.

How shameful that the Arabs plead and beg the very superpower that supports and arms Israel to do its killing of Arab “brethren?

Stop the bellicose speeches. Stop the charade of photo op meetings, handshakes, and smiles across Europe and the White House. Stop betraying your faith and your people for a joke of government power. None of your leaders can leave his office or home without permission from Israel or fear of being killed. How dare you imprison and torture your own people? Palestine, you have way too many political parties and militias, and for what? Rather than dedicating yourselves as one people to free Palestine from bondage you’ve all become bonded and hostages to outside influences playing you against each other for their own agenda, certainly not to your benefit.

For God’s sake, stop the internal strife. Stop the useless rockets. Just stop all these failed strategies.

First unite. Then lay down your arms and launch daily peaceful protests throughout Palestine, but without guns and the idiocy of shooting them in the air for any excuse imaginable, remove all masks, and refrain from hot blooded speeches and loud speakers. Simply carry banners of peace and flags of the U.N. Security Council nations. Invite all religious and civic leaders in Israel and in your territories to march with you.

Stop the hysterical media pronouncements that the entire Arab world is sick of. We've had enough of long meaningless speeches whose only intent is to bow and praise the useless leaders. It is incredulous that our media in the G.C.C. nations proclaim that their kings, emirs, and sultan are worthy of human sacrifice. May Allah (swt) forgive their stupidity and arrogance. Do such leaders deserve to be called Muslim leaders or is it the fault of the brainwashed demoralized masses who accept their life long hold on power?

Palestine will be liberated through intelligent strategies, peaceful protests, and a brilliant media and public relations campaign and not through the childish futile Qassam rockets or counterproductive suicide bombers.

The Arab world has failed for 60 years to liberate one inch of Palestine. It’s time for a new, different, and media based strategy. The west lives, dies, fights, buys, and elects according to media hype, the Delphi oracle of the western hemisphere.

Thus start an image campaign. Begin with a professional makeover of all governmental websites that are poorly designed and developed, usually written in poor Arabic fonts, rarely translated into proficient English, and often under eternal construction. Imagine the world's most worthy humane cause is disconnected from a world eager to know more about official Palestine.

Rarely, if any, are eloquent personalities and speakers traveling across America to present the historical and humane Palestinian perspective.

From my own observance I would highly recommend that such laudable individuals as Drs. Hanan Ashrawi, Nabil Sha'ath, and Moustapha Barghouti.

Where are the Palestinian Christian leaders? They carry the greatest weight in this country given that many American churches are struggling alone to present your story, to divest from Israel, boycott Israeli products as well as Caterpillar whose bulldozers are demolishing your homes and building extravagant Arab cities and projects.

Where are your artists, dance troupes, musicians, products such as dresses, embroidery, jewelry, and artifacts that the west so admires and needs to see?

Fifty seven Arab and Muslim Ambassadors are totally non-existent, much like ghosts, in the American media. They live for parties, receptions, photos ops and as you'll understand--Non-Islamic behavior.

You need to come here in force and populate the television and print media. Rarely does one see an op-ed or letter to the editor from a Palestinian, Arab, or Muslim leader in western newspapers or magazines.

Perhaps I’m being idealistic, far fetched, and unrealistic to hope for a new strategy for Palestine’s independence, a nation stolen under the very eyes and feet of Arabs. But what is the alternative other than the status quo?

Does anyone actually believe that this year's Bush driven to make up for Iraq peace process will amount to anything? No one should be this delusional.

Nothing is ever given by superpowers only taken. The question is the path and strategy to reclaim one’s freedom, rights, and stolen land.

In today's world, especially after 9-11 violence is dead on arrival and only peaceful protests and a media savvy campaign gets results.

I pray to God that Fatah and Hamas will see the folly of their ways and together work toward the light of independence. You both struggle for a sense of false power in a land not under your control. Yet none of you are able to feed a single hungry Palestinian child living in total darkness in Gaza who’ll awaken tomorrow to play in contaminated water and sewage.

The world supports and loves you but you must earn this love and support and not lose it through your arrogance and failed strategies. It must be said that in modern history perhaps the most misguided resistance movement has been the Palestinian movement.

To Fatah and Hamas, may God help your hungry, sick, and unemployed people if you as alleged leaders are unable to unite for the freedom and welfare of your people.

The fastest way to your independence is by talking and touching directly the hearts of the western masses and not through photo-op meetings with politicians. Western politicians are beholden to their domestic constituencies and not to any foreign cause. You must come here and impact the citizens who vote for these politicians. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the reservoir of good will many Americans have toward Palestinians. They just need to see and hear your narrative told in a most compelling manner.

For once our beloved Palestine take the initiative from Israel, hold the upper hand and place your destine in the hands of God.

Begin by announcing to the world that you abandon all military resistance and seek a peaceful two state solution as called for in U.N. Resolution 242: 2 states-- 4--2 peoples.

Proclaim that Israel has one year until Bush's term ends to reach a final settlement based on United Nations Resolutions and the Arab League Peace Plan presented for the third time and rejected by Israel. Place the onus directly upon Israel in the court of world opinion.

If Israel fails to accept the plan after one year than for God's sake UNILATERALLY DECLARE YOUR INDEPENDENCE. Whatever happens can’t be worst than what’s happened to you for sixty years. What else can Israel do, invade and occupy your lands?

Many in the world will fill the streets in your support beginning with the oppressed and suppressed one and a half billion Arab and Muslim masses.

Declare your independence on January 20, 2009, the day a new American President is inaugurated. A new President will have no choice but to flaunt his power to gain worldwide credibility and will halt any Israeli onslaught. There will be victims for sure but Palestine has given up thousands of its children for decades and has never achieved independence. In due time many nations from South America, to Africa and Asia, will recognize Palestine after such a dramatic and potentially risky endeavor.

The world is sick of superpower hegemony and fear of American retaliation against those who speak or act ill toward Israel. Your declaration of liberation will reverberate and liberate the world once and for all from Israel’s political hegemony and intimidation.

Do it and only fear God, not America and not Israel. The Arab leaders will react to your declaration after first checking with the new President, most likely Barack Obama.

God be with you our beloved Palestine.

30 January 2008

I Never give up !
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This latest book was quite a trial for me, with the other two I suppose I had backing from the biggest Publishers in the world because the books supported the official Western line on Saddam. The Black Hole however left me struggling to find a publisher because it shone a searchlight on CIA practices in Europe, my treatment in the West has in part been worse than my treatment in Iraq. To some my story might seem fantastical, a figment of my imagination, to those people I say that truth is often stranger than fiction and the truth of my life is among the strangest.

In a world where we strive for truth and freedom of speech, it still amazes me how those who try to speak the truth are shot down, ridiculed and derided, I am not the only person trying to speak out there are many, many more and always when they are filmed peacefully protesting or gathering support they are portrayed as "hippies" "liberals" "tree huggers" anything that deflates their cause and questions their intelligence.

As I wrote and spoke out against Saddam Hussein and his regime in Iraq, I have and will write and speak out against the same system here in the west, it is not because I escaped one Dictator that I can sit back and let another rule me. I have heard the rhetoric, "oh, but you are free now, you should be thankful" yes I am thankful to be out but not thankful to be brought to another corrupt system. Yes there are varying degrees of dictatorship and the ones here in the west may not have reached the heights of murderousness that Saddam did, (well at least not on their home soil) but is that enough reason for us to put our heads down and pretend that nothing is wrong?

It has been made very clear to me especially in the recent past that if the citizens of the country that I reside in are not interested enough in changing the flaws in their government and it's policies that they certainly don't want me a foreigner doing anything about it either, thank you very much.

A government is supposed to represent the people, a government is employed by the people, a government is supposed to be elected by the people (although in recent years one has to wonder) so why is it that when a government isn't doing the job that we put them in power to do, we don't do or say anything? There is a prevailing lethargy, a belief that their term will be over soon enough and they'll be out so we don't have to do anything about it. Yes, but then we elect a new batch and although the faces change the policies and strategy stay the same, (it worked for the last lot why wouldn't it work for them?) and why? Because we as the people, their employers and their electors, didn't make it clear to them what we were and were not going to accept. I have heard it said that we get the government we deserve, well that maybe very true, did Iraq deserve Saddam? Does Zimbabwe deserve Mugabe? Does the great Nation of America deserve Bush? You may argue that Saddam and Mugabe weren't elected, but initially they were, can we also positively say that about Bush? Does it not seem farcical that a President whose own election was dubious should go around the world overthrowing those that he deems undemocratic?

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, you don't need to have read George Orwell's 1984 to see that his novel was prophetic, the constant state of war against an ever changing mysterious enemy, "Big Brother" the phrase Orwell himself coined is an everyday term for the eyes and ears that constantly watch over us, we are aware but for some reason buy into the idea that it's all for our own good, ask yourself a question, there is no right or wrong answer, just your own perception.

Is there less Terrorism in the world now, even though we have CCTV, Patriot laws, Guantanamo bay and stricter airport controls?

At what point did you notice your world change?

Who benefits from confusion?

What is foreign policy and who makes really it?

Latif Yahia

28 January 2008

Michael McDowell the Saddam Hussein of Ireland ?

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There is one thing that we all share each
year, that is reflection, each New Year we refelect upon the year that has passed and as we ourselves grow older, we reflect upon our lives, what we have achieved and our goals for the future.

As Frank Sinatra once sang “regrets, I have a few, but then again, too few to mention”

There are certain points in your life that are integral to the person that you have become, rights of passage, character building events and in my case life changing situations, would I be the person I am today had I not had my life?

Of course not!

I make no apologies for my life, it has not been all good nor has it been all bad, it could not be everyones life because everyone would not have survived it. I am grateful for my life, in that I am still here to live it. I can wake each morning to the certainty that I am loved.

What more could a man ask for?

Well, if you were to really push me… a country to call home would be nice.

For many years, I roamed Europe and the rest of the world, it didn’t matter to me much and at times I quite enjoyed the impermanence of it all, I actually loved Hotels and the fact that each day the room was scrubbed clean to appear as if no-one had been there before you.

Maybe it is age, or actually finding somewhere that I would like to call home that has changed that for me.

Ireland in 1997, seemed so ideal, small but fairly modern, Europe but different, friendly people and a burgeoning economy for business.

Now, that is just a memory for me, having just made my third application for Irish citizenship ( will the third time be a charm for me?) it is getting through my thick skull that I am not necessarily wanted here. I grin weakly at people from all over the world that assume that I received citizenship in Europe the moment I put my foot outside Iraq ( or a team of bodyguards for that matter), no, I’m afraid that part of the screenplay didn’t make it into the final cut.

And why have I been refused Irish citizenship twice, I hear you ask, well on the first application which took five years to process and was seemingly the longest case on file, it seems that I applied three months too early. It only took the threat of a High court action against Mr. McDowell to make a decision for them after five years to point that out.

(Irish naturalisation law, deemed at the time that a decision would be made on any case within six to eighteen months of application, I waited five years, it’s quite possible that I could still be waiting)

Obviously it was the only excuse they could come up with.

I should like to point out at this time that I do not have a criminal record, not even a parking ticket.

In the Autumn of 2001 three black GMCs pulled up outside my hall door, I instantly recognised the men in suits and sunglasses (yes, in real life they do dress like they’re in the movies) As I opened my door and invited them in, it seemed almost like De ja vu.

They were American, they were from the CIA and they had a proposition for me, do remember that the invasion of Iraq did not start until March of 2003.

I was offered a job, to work for them in Ireland, as usual I told them were to go and as usual they told me that they would make my life here hell and I should never think that I would get anything from Ireland.

Maybe this time they were telling the truth.

My second application which was lodged shortly after the first refusal was met with a letter from the Dept of Justice stating that I should not contact them until early 2008, it was 2006 at the time, infuriated, I made my case on the Gerry Ryan radio show, in which I called upon the then Minister for Justice Michael McDowell to meet with me face to face in the radio station to discuss the matter on air and let the listeners decide if I were fit to be an Irish citizen. Unsurprisingly he declined my invitation, but did find the time in his hectic shedule to refuse my second application “at the Ministers discretion” two weeks later. It seems that at some point Michael McDowell had changed immigration and nautralization laws to disallow appeals of his decision and also naturalization through marriage to an Irish National.

But I was free to apply again, which I did.

It is also noteworthy that any application no matter how complete/incomplete can be accepted or declined by the Minister for Justice, he has the final say, no matter what and can grant or refuse as he wishes. He at his discretion can waive certain requirements to issue naturalisation or in reverse can refuse an application simply because “ In the ministers view and upon reccomendations made to him , the minister does not feel that you would be a good citizen for Ireland”

I have received my letter confirming receipt of my application and have also been told that I may contact the citizenship dept, but anyone who has had the misfortune of trying to make that call knows that the chances of getting through are the same as winning the Irish lottery.

On the one occasion that I did get through,as soon as I gave my name I was immediately put on hold while the person on the other end went in search of a supervisor. The lady in question informed me that because of a backlog of 17,800 cases it could be “ Two and a half, three maybe four years before we get to look at your case.”

Now when I sit in a district court on any given day and see some of the people who have been granted citizenship to this fair land, who cannot speak English well, write their names or on one particular occasion didn’t actually know what it was they were there for, getting citizenship, I do ask myself why?

Is it so wrong to be educated, slightly famous/infamous (you choose) be married to an Irishwoman and have three Irish born children?

Or maybe I should just forget about it and find somewhere that might actually want me.

I think the latter is the better option, don’t you?

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This a letter between the Taoiseach (prime minister) of Ireland and the Minister of Justice, Equality and Law reform, Mr Michael McDowell. One of twenty, the Taoiseach Mr. Bertie Aherne represented my interests in all cases, you can see that the Taoiseach had no influence over his Minister with regard to my application for Naturalisation.
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Me and prime minister of Ireland Mr.Bertie Aherne.

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This is a letter from the Minister of Justice Mr McDowell to me, I had asked for a personal meeting to explain my case, he declined to meet me and as you can see from the letter itself that he asked me not to contact his office until the first half of 2008, the send date on the letter was 2006.
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This is a letter from Minister McDowell informing the Taoiseach Mr. Bertie Aherne of his decision to decline my application for naturalization, the decision was made just weeks after I appeared on the National radio station on a famous radio show The Gerry Ryan radio show, I had been speaking to Gerry about my applications for citizenship and the fact that the Minister Mr. McDowell had declined to meet with me and I had asked Gerry to again ask the Minister if he would meet with me on the show he declined, I pointed out on the show that the Minister's dept was full of corruption and I had the proof, the Minister chose not to defend or refute my allegations. The Minister did however find the time to look at my application and refuse it, even though from his previous letter he assured me that due to the backlog of 7,000 cases in front of mine he could not look at my case until the first half of 2008. Mr. McDowell lost his Ministry in the 2007 Elections and also lost his seat in The Dail (Irish Parliament).

Will the game of cat and mouse between me and the Dept of Justice ever end?
Has my file with a big black X just been passed from one Minister to the next or will the new Minister for Justice read my file with an open mind?
People have said that I am a politician, this is not true, politicians have two and three faces, I cannot, I cannot be like them I speak my mind, it is something that I have always done and cannot change now and would not want to. I believe in freedom of speech, justice and equality for all, I would just like to find some.
According to Irish Law if you are resident in the state of Ireland for five years you are entitled to apply for naturalization, (I am here nearly 11 years).
If you are married to an Irish citizen for three years or more you are entitled to apply for naturalization ( my Irish wife and I are married for seven years, we have three Irish born children)
Under the terms of legislation for naturalization, a refusal can be made if you have a criminal record, I do not, I don't even have a parking ticket.
When Mr. McDowell took his position as Minister for Justice he repealed several laws with regard to naturalization, you cannot appeal his decision in the High Court which was the case, marriage to an Irish citizen is no longer a reason for naturalization, having Irish born children no longer a guarantee of Irish naturalization and if both parents are non-nationals the child if born after 1st January 2005 is not automatically an Irish citizen.
Some of these changes are fair others not, but at the end of the day the Minister for Justice has the power to grant or refuse any application at his discretion no matter what the circumstances. Mr McDowell also refused to sign off on an anti-racism law to which most of Europe subscribe. Is this democratic? Or was Mr.
McDowell the Saddam Hussein of Ireland?
Under Mr. McDowell's watchful eye crime in Ireland surged by 28% racism in Ireland grew by 32% these figures are confirmed by Amnesty International which I am a member of.

Best regards,
Latif Yahia

The hand that rocks the oil pumps controls the world. Between 1979 and 2003, that hand was Saddam Hussein’s. He would also use it to sign death warrants on dissenters, to murder his own countrymen, to plot disastrous wars with neighboring countries, and to be the puppet master of his entire population. In September 1987, Saddam—or more accurately, his son, Uday—picked up my strings. Uday wanted a double, and I was unlucky enough to resemble him.

his was not my first encounter with Uday. Because of my father’s wealth I was sent to the best school in Iraq, and a young, spoiled, arrogant Uday became my classmate. We all hated him even then. He would cruise the streets in his cars and, with the assistance of his bodyguards, would pick up girls whether they wanted to go with him or not—and most did not. At least one girl who refused to be taken by him was kidnapped and thrown to his starving dogs. In class he would act like his father, showing no enthusiasm for lessons and acting threateningly toward anyone who crossed him. A teacher who reprimanded him for bringing his girlfriend into class disappeared and was never seen again. My classmates used to tease me and call me Uday because even at that age I resembled him. I used to imitate him for laughs.

When my second encounter with Uday came about, I was a captain on the front in Iraq’s pointless war with Iran. My unit’s command received a dispatch saying that I should be sent to the presidential palace. I was taken there and informed that I was to become Uday Hussein’s fiday, or body double. This would involve attending functions, making appearances, and assuming his persona when rumors of assassination were circulating. Saddam had several fidays already, and Uday obviously longed for one just like his daddy. I was to be his first. My initial refusal was met with a long spell of solitary confinement and mental torture in a cramped cell without so much as a toilet to maintain my dignity. Eventually, this treatment, and vile threats against my family, forced me to agree to Uday’s demands.

Throughout a lengthy period I was trained to act like him and to speak like him. I was also, through cosmetic surgery, made to look even more like him. Indeed, having my front teeth filed down and being given a set of caps that mimicked Uday’s gave me a lisp just like his. I was, during my “training,” desensitized to the ugly barbarity of the regime by being forced to watch endless, excruciating videos of real torture, mutilation, and murder perpetrated by them on dozens of men, women, and children of Iraq, usually prisoners or prisoners’ family members. These films also served as a warning as to what I could expect were I to decide to challenge the regime at any time in the future.

My first public appearance as Uday was at a football match in Baghdad’s People’s Stadium. My job was to wave at the crowd from a dignitaries box and present medals to the players at the end. When Uday saw the appearance on television he was impressed. He congratulated my trainers and accepted me as a member of his circle, albeit on the outer reaches. He could not allow anyone to become too close to him, particularly anyone from outside the Tikriti clan from which the majority of the regime was drawn. Indeed, I had been the first fiday to be plucked from the outside world.

From then on my days were spent living in his palaces, effectively a prisoner, as I was not allowed to do anything without permission. But it was a prison of opulence and luxury, with access to the finest food and drink the world had to offer. Swimming pools and other such charmed diversions made the time a little more bearable.

ut the captivity grew stultifying. Most of the time I would not be making appearances; I would be bored out of my mind, intellectually and socially unchallenged. I had graduated with a degree in law and had dreamed of following in my father’s footsteps and becoming a businessman. This had never been part of my master plan. I was living a brainless, useless existence with no independence or exercise of free will. But worse was to come. I got sucked closer to Uday and he started to treat me as one of his bodyguards, taking me out with him as protection against assassination at the hands of any of his multitude of enemies. This is when I witnessed the depravity of Uday firsthand. I saw him rape, murder, bully, and destroy anyone who dared to question his will. This could be anyone from friends of his father to innocent passersby. On one occasion a honeymooning couple, the wife of which Uday took a liking to, was split apart forever when she threw herself to her death from a balcony after being raped by Uday.

I was saved by the beginning of the invasion of the US-led forces, which seemed to give the regime other things to think about. Uday came to visit me one day. He had me shaved from head to toe and dumped on the doorstep of my parents’ home. My mother discovered me but did not recognize the bald, skeletal figure at her feet until I spoke to tell her who I was.

I eventually managed to flee to Austria, but Uday was not finished with me. Two of Uday’s men arrived at my family’s home and told my father that Uday wanted to see him in his office. They said the meeting would not take too long and that they would pick him up and bring him back. The meeting took place in the headquarters of the Iraqi Olympic Committee, the organization led by Uday more as something for him to do than through any interest he might have had in sports. At 4 AM my father was dropped off at home. The family was still awake, terrified that he had been kidnapped, tortured, or murdered. He said he did not feel well, and just sat there in the lounge, obviously in some distress. In time he started to feel dizzy. Everyone assumed he was tired, as the past few hours would have been a serious drain on his physical resources. But his skin was changing color, at first unnoticeably but eventually unmistakably, to a sickly shade of yellow. He eventually keeled over and took his last breath.

A few hours after my father was dropped off, Uday’s bodyguards arrived at the house and imposed a no-funeral rule. They told my family simply to put his body in a grave and unceremoniously bury him. They must have known he would be dead by then, which confirmed to anyone in any doubt that he had been deliberately poisoned. Their rationale was that he was killed because he was the father of Latif Yahia, in their view one of the country’s greatest criminals, one of its traitors, who was working alongside the CIA to overthrow Saddam.

I continue to blame myself for the death of my father. And I cannot see the day when I will forgive myself. I could have stayed in Iraq and faced the music. Perhaps I would have been the one to accept the orange juice, to have my bones broken, my soul forced through the mangle. Perhaps then my father would have been the one blaming himself—for sending me to the same school as Uday, for being wealthy. Who knows? It is pointless thinking about it. All I knew was that he was the biggest thing in my life—my father, my friend, my teacher, my confidante, a line of continuity in a place where arbitrary acts of violence and mayhem kept its inhabitants in fear and obedience. And now he is gone.


09 January 2008

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